This week the Senate Labor-H subcommittee panelcompleted markup of a fiscal year 2019 spending bill, and the full committee voted 30-1 to advance the bill. Included in the bill’s report language is a requirement for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide weekly reports to the committee on the migrant children in its care, their placement, the number released to sponsors, and more, while distinguishing between those who arrived as unaccompanied minors and those who were separated from their parents at the border by Customs and Border Protection.  

Both Chairman Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray acknowledged the bipartisan effort to put together this bill, which was not any easy one to finalize. The Senate proposed the funding total for the 2019 fiscal year would be $2.2 billion more than the 2018 funding level. However, since the bill also makes increases to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to programs that address opioid addiction, cuts to other programs under jurisdiction of the Labor-H bill were needed.  

Some highlights from the Senate proposal:

  • $250 million increase for Head Start
  • Maintains $2.4 billion increase for Childcare and Development Block Grant Program from last year
  • $25 million increase for Impact aid and an increase for Charter Schools
  • Increase in STEM education funding, adult education, and apprenticeship programs  

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee, which had hoped to wrap up work earlier this week on its version of the spending bill, has postponed action on that measure until July. The reason for this delay is rumored to be because an appropriations package could be a vehicle for immigration legislation and discussion, and the House did not want to engage in that conversation while its immigration bill was up for vote this week. The House immigration bill ended up failing. The Senate and the House will need to come together to address differences in their bills before the two chambers conference on all 12 spending bills.

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